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The Hero is, in the beginning, just a normal boy/girl (or at least relatively normal, anyway). However, this character has a powerful destiny, completely unaware of the role they will play in the grand scheme of things. Someone has to break the news, and turn this Muggle into the hero he/she is meant to be. And that someone is... a talking cat?
Part Talking Animal and part enlightened teacher, the mentor mascot plays the dual role of teaching the protagonist about their destiny and powers, while at the same time adding that little bit of comic relief and cuteness (if the show in question is already cutesy, it might start to become sickeningly sweet). Even still, the Mentor Mascot takes its job seriously, and tends to accompany The Hero everywhere just in case the Mooks or the Quirky Miniboss Squad show up.
In a show (or other medium) where the Masquerade is of significant importance (and when is it not?), the Mentor Mascot will simultaneously be the strictest enforcer and the greatest threat to said facade, since talking animals are usually not normal. However, due to cleverness and selective possession of the Idiot Ball, this is generally just for comic effect rather than an actual problem.
Oftentimes, the mentor is an Old Master who was cursed into a helpless form, serving as a very good justification for why he is shepherding the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits instead of using his great knowledge and power to save the world himself.
Generally an anime/manga trope (especially common in Magical Girl anime) but still present in other media. In Magical Girl shows, this critter is usually the one who initially gives the girl her powers, and is known as a companion or a Familiar.
- Jiji from Kiki's Delivery Service
- Perhaps the queen (and king) of this trope is Sailor Moon, in the guises of Luna and Artemis.
- Kerberos from Cardcaptor Sakura.
- Paya-tan from Dai Mahou Touge is certainly an adorable mascot, most of the time, but wait till he gets into his "Colonel Paya Livingston" persona.
- Chamo from Mahou Sensei Negima is less of The Obi-Wan and more of a Dirty Old Man in ermine form. He does a bit of mentoring about a particular aspect of the local magic system (a special form of partnership), but mostly so he can collect a hefty paycheck from somewhere or other every time Negi gets a partner.
- Ryo-Ohki in Pretty Sammy and Magical Project S.
- Yuuno from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha is a mage boy posing as a telepathic ferret in order to keep things normal. She quickly outpowers him.
- Yoruichi from Bleach..
- Every Pretty Cure series has at least one:
- There's also the cat from Shaman King, Matamune, though he only shows up in a flashback VERY late in the series.
- Arks and Karks, a duck and a cat from Moetan fill this role, when not otherwise distracted
- Each Knight in The Lucifer and Biscuit Hammer gets an animal. The male lead gets the lizard.
- A less obvious example, but at the end of the manga Mokona from Magic Knight Rayearth turns out to have been God all along.
- The Suicide Plushies in Kämpfer
- Ninufa from Barajou no Kiss is both extremely creepy and cute. Can also shift into an enormous black dragon when distressed.
- Kyubey from Puella Magi Madoka Magica appears to be this at first. However he has a habit of withholding crucial information from his charges, along with wording things in misleading ways and his motives for creating and mentoring Magical Girls are... not so benevolent. Wicked Weasel, after all. It doesn't help that he has a case of Blue and Orange Morality. However, he arguably becomes more of a straight example in the Alternate Universe created in the Grand Finale.
- Nubo and Cato from Hana no Ko Lunlun, a dog and cat duo who are actually fairies in disguise.
- Topo from Magical Star Magical Emi.
- The alien kittens Posi and Nega from Magical Angel Creamy Mami.
- The dinosaur plushies Mogu and Pigu from Magical Stage Fancy Lala.
- The trio of kappas from Persia the Magic Fairy.
- The President from Houkago no Pleiades is a cute blob-shaped alien who serves this role.
- Panda-bu from Sweet Valerian is a small round panda-creature who actually tricks the heroines into becoming Magical Girls.
- Yoda anyone?
- Arguably, Fin Raizel from Willow. She's a powerful sorceress who spends much of the movie in the form of a possum (not to mention a raven and a goat).
- In the first episode of Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Sensei Watanabe gets into a fight with Lothor, and is turned into a guinea pig. Nonetheless, he is still the team's mentor, and still a master ninja - just very, very small. The same goes for his Japanese counterpart in Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger
- Mandora Boy in Mahou Sentai Magiranger. He educates the Ozu kids about their powers through song in light of their parents being absent, and provides additional info on the show's spells in a bonus segment.
- Bomper in Engine Sentai Go-onger is the closest thing the team has to a mentor. He's also a small, pink robot.
- Boo is something of a subversion in that he really does try his best to help Largo, but unlike most of the other examples on this list he has something of a language barrier to overcome. In effect, Boo ends up just squeaking while Largo goes off and causes havoc.
- Actually it seems that Erika can understand Boo just fine, implying that his ineffectiveness is less due to a language barrier and more to do with Largo being a hyperactive Cloudcuckoolander who doesn't listen to anyone's advice if he doesn't need to.
- Miya from Angel Moxie is a sendup of Luna from Sailor Moon, but is a good deal snarkier.
- Then there's the whole really-a-Catgirl and exchanging her life for Alex's thing
- Hermod from Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki, though less qualified than some of the others on this list.
- Carl from Soul Symphony is this. He's a mystical spirit who looks like "a cross between a rat and a kangaroo", and while he is very wise in the workings of magic, he's not the most helpful mentor.
- Dusty from Sailor Nothing plays this role.
- Played straight and played with in Magical Girl Hunters. The animals in question are almost always outlandishly colored. In case of mass empowerment, a crate full of baby chicks was used. In another case, Sailor H's turn to homicidal mania was prefixed by her animal companions, a purple raccoon, developing rabies.
- The Recruiters from Lambda. Given the nature of the setting, it's only natural to have so many of these Ridiculously Cute Critters running around and serving as walking army recruitment posters.
- Jubei to Ragna in Blaz Blue
- The Owl Sage in My World My Way . Doesn't follow Elise constantly, but keeps showing up to give her advice.
- The cat in the fangame Memories of Mana
- Kaepora Gaebora the owl in Zelda: Links Awakening
- Mulan has Mushu as her guide.
- The Life and Times of Juniper Lee - June's dog Monroe is her Mentor Mascot, assisting her Ah-Mah.
- The entire Super Robot Monkey Team Hyperforce Go! is this to Chiro, but Antauri in particular.
- American Dragon Jake Long has Fu Dog, who is sort of a beta Mentor to Jake, after his Grandfather.
- Jake from Adventure Time, just barely.
- Nibbler from Futurama. And how.